Tunisia Military Court Frees Arrested Opposition Figures

The head of Tunisia’s conservative Karama party, Seifeddine Makhlouf, has been released by a military court, his lawyers said on Monday.

The lawyer, Anouar Awled Ali, said Makhlouf was released alongside another opposition figure amid concerns over human rights since President Kais Saied seized power last year.

On July 25, Sayed dismissed Tunisia’s prime minister, suspended parliament, and took over governing duties, a move the Tunisian opposition described as a coup.

Since Saied’s intervention, several senior business leaders and politicians have been arrested or prosecuted on corruption or defamation charges. Makhlouf and Nidal Saudi, a member of the Karama party, were arrested in September last year and charged with assaulting policemen.

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‮”‬The Public Prosecution asked the court to renew their imprisonment, but the military court refused the request and therefore released them,‮”‬ their lawyer said.

Makhlouf was elected to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in 2019, and he is the spokesperson and parliamentary group leader of Dignity Coalition. In September 2021, he was briefly detained when he tried to attend a court hearing against himself in the capital.

The arrests as well as the use of military courts for hearing cases have been criticized by human rights groups.

According to Saied, he will uphold the rights and freedoms won in Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, which ushered in democracy and inspired “Arab Spring” protests.

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